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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Fact or Fiction---Is there a breeding population of Pumas in Michigan???? By all Dept. of Natural Resources and Independent biologist reports, the answer is NO.....................Yet, Pumas have been spotted in the state since being officially extirpated in 1906............It should be noted that outside of photos and the great 2014 video footage of a Puma in Mackinac County in 2014, only two confirmed carcasses reported in the Upper Peninsula over the past 3 years; the most recent on Feb 1, 2016 in Breitung Township in Dickinson County.............. The other was poached in 2013 by a hunter in Schoolcraft County................Wildlife biologist Patrick Rusz of the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy in Bath feels strongly that Pumas were never fully eliminated from the state: He states that "in 2000 I was given $5,000 to go to the UP and disprove the rumor that there were cougars living there"...... “I found one in two days"........ "He believes that cougars have been in the state all along"--------Fact or Fiction?????

Michigan’s cougar 

controversy continues

Capital News Service
LANSING — Everybody knows that there aren’t any
 cougars in Michigan. These big cats were hunted to
 extinction in the state in the early 1900s and despite
34 recent sightings reported in the Upper Peninsula,
 it’s safe to say that the cats aren’t back to stay yet.
According to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR),
 that’s true.

Confirmed picture of a Puma in Michigan-source Michigan
of Natural Resources--2014;Mackinac County
cougar DNR.jpg
“They were found in most of Michigan at one time,” said
 DNR wildlife management specialist Kevin Swanson. “In
 the early 1900s they were being extirpated. The last cougar
 harvested in Michigan was in Newberry in 1906.”
Swanson said that the 34 confirmed sightings doesn’t mean
 34 separate animals. According to the DNR, 23 of these
sightings were photos, eight were tracks, one was video and
 animal waste and the final two were carcasses. The most
 recent carcass, discovered in a snare Feb. 1 by conservation
 officers four miles north of Iron Mountain in Breitung
Township in Dickinson County. The other was poached in
 2013 by a hunter in Schoolcraft County.
The DNR says it plans to continue enforcing the legal
protection that the cougars are given by the Michigan
Endangered Species Act, which prohibits harming,
capturing or harassing cougars.
Some people, however, have a bone to pick with the
DNR about the status of the cougar in Michigan. One
of these people is wildlife biologist Patrick Rusz of
the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy in Bath.
“In 2000 I was given $5,000 to go to the UP and
 disprove the rumor that there were cougars
living there,” said Rusz. “I found one in two days.”
Rusz says that he believes that cougars have been
in the state all along.
In 1907, one year after the DNR stated that the last
 cougar was harvested in Michigan, the Sault St.
 Marie Evening News reported on a cougar killed
 in a wolf trap in Chippewa County,
In 1948, R.H. Manville, a taxonomist, reported
 several sightings by “reliable people.”
In 1966, Francis Opolka, a DNR officer, observed
 a cougar in Delta County. Plaster casts of the
 animal’s tracks were verified by the University
of Michigan as “that of a large cat.”
In 1984, blood-covered bone fragments were
 recovered from a cougar shot in Menominee
County. The sample was sent to Colorado State
University, where it was determined to have a
 “positive identity to a mountain lion.”
These instances were recorded in “Milestones
 of the History of Cougars in Michigan,” a
 document by the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy.
 If reputable sources, and even DNR officers,
 continued seeing cougars, then why did the DNR
 continue to state that they were extinct in the state,
 even up to a February 2016 interview with the
Great Lakes Echo?
Simply put, Rusz says he believes that the DNR
denies the presence of the cougar in the state
for selfish reasons.
In the 1960s, the Florida DNR discovered a
 population of panthers (cougars) living in the
 wetlands in the southern half of the state.
The federal government gave it $50 million
with which to buy land and educate the public
 to protect the animals, but the wetlands
 bought by the Florida agency began to
restrict expansions on other projects such
 as airports.
When the Michigan DNR asked for a similar
grant to investigate the cougars that people
were still seeing in the state, the feds said no.
“The cougar went from being a potential cash
cow to a financial albatross.” said Rusz.
From that point forward, Rusz says, the DNR
 continued claiming that cougars were an
extirpated species. Cougar sighting were
debunked as escaped pets and the people
 who reported them became drunken Yoopers.
 It wasn’t until the digital age, when many
people started having camera phones and
trail cameras to catch these animals in action,
that the DNR changed its stance.
“The escaped pet theory wasn’t gonna fly
 anymore. They needed a new excuse.
 That’s when they started saying these
animals were transients,” Rusz said.
“The ability of the Internet to spread
erroneous information is mind-blowing.
I’m sure there are suits (officials) that
 believe this cougar nonsense but the
 higher ups are just maintaining the
 charade,” he said.
“Ask your readers this question. According
to the DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, there were no cougar sightings in
 102 years. Not a single confirmation
between 1906 and 2008. Since 2008
they’ve confirmed 34. They’re telling
 you that the state was worked over so
well by hunters and trappers that they
killed every animal,” Rusz said.
“Do you believe that?”

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources
 released Thursday video footage of a male
cougar at a deer kill site in Mackinac County.
The sighting and footage are rare as Michigan
doesn't have an established cougar population
, DNR officials say. As of Thursday there have
 been 28 confirmed cougar sightings in the
Upper Peninsula since 2008.
"What's interesting about this video is it's the
 best footage we've ever come across from
 a citizen," said Debbie Munson Badini,
spokeswoman for the DNR. "It's a neat
 thing for the public to see. People appreciate
 being able to see the wild being wild."
The 60-second clip posted to YouTube
 Thursday shows the cougar repeatedly
 returning to the site to eat a deer. The
video was provided by hunters from
 Remus who discovered the deer kill
 site. The hunters set up a trail cam
which captured the footage on Dec.
10, 2014 and Dec. 11, 2014.
The state doesn't have an established
cougar population, but the animal does
 travel through the Upper Peninsula while
 searching for a place to set up its territory.
Most are juvenile male cougars traveling
 from the Dakotas, Munson Badini said.
"They travel hundreds and hundreds of
 miles to find what they need," she said.
There have been no confirmed sightings
 of cougars in the Lower Peninsula,
Munson Badini said.

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